Dale Carnegie wrote the book on how to make friends. More accurately, he wrote How To Win Friends And Influence People, which has become a staple of pop culture reference since the 1930s. “It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy,” Carnegie wrote, “It is what you think about it.”
We often think about making friends as getting other people to like us, want to be friends with us, accept us, and invite us into their lives. For men in recovery from addiction, the prospect of making friends can be intimidating. Addiction is not what causes insecurities or self-consciousness. Most often, men have had these intimidations for most of their lives, addiction just silenced them. Many men find drugs and alcohol to be a “social lubricant” or a way to be accepted into the social circles of others. On the alternative, men might use addiction as a way to stay away from people, isolate, and be as far on the outside as possible. In recovery, it is critical that men make friends, build a brotherhood, and have a network of individuals upon whom they can rely.
Without the buffer of drugs and alcohol, men might turn to a different mechanism of keeping people at a distance- not liking them. Rather than focus on not being liked by others, men focus on not liking other people- a sort of “hurt you before you hurt me” approach. “False pride” is the term used to describe this peculiar phenomenon in recovery, of taking pride in something that isn’t necessarily prideful. Addiction comes with a lot of shame and stigma, which can make the idea of making friends even more intimidating. As we put effort into our recovery and getting to know ourselves, we put effort into getting to know and liking other people. “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you,” said Carnegie. Take interest in the lives of others and your life will get more interesting. It’s one of the many inexplicable rules of the universe.
At Tree House Recovery in Portland, Oregon, we’re helping men find freedom from addiction by creating sustainable change for a sustainable recovery. For information on our men’s treatment programs, call us today: (503) 850-2474